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Recipients Selected in Eight Categories

Eight Frederick County Public Schools support employees have been recognized in the 2021 Support Employees of the Year Award program.

They are: School-based Custodian of the Year Michael Bowles, Linganore High; Central Office Business Support Employee of the Year Jeremy Eccard, Public Affairs; School-based Food Service Employee of the Year Barbara Hoy, Rock Creek School; Central Office Secretary of the Year Orissa Linker, Central Office Reception; School-based Special Education Instructional Assistant of the Year Crystal McKenzie, Thurmont Middle; Central Office Maintenance Employee of the Year Aaron Shorb, Maintenance & Operations; Bus Driver of the Year Carolyn Shultz, Oakdale feeder; and School-based Secretary of the Year Lori Zentz, Catoctin High.

From this list of eight, one school-based and one central office Support Employee of the Year will be announced at the June 9 Board of Education meeting when the entire group is honored. The two overall winners will each receive a cash award, a personal day off, a special trophy, and a Board of Education pin. All category winners will receive trophies and certificates.

Thurmont Middle School’s Rebecca Krauss (pictured right) was one of three school counselors recognized by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) for the Frederick County School Counselor Association’s 2021 School Counselors of the Year.

School counselors have played pivotal roles helping students, parents, teachers, and community agencies navigate the global health crisis and help address physical, emotional, and social needs. There were 270 nominations for School Counselor of the Year.

Rebecca Krauss has been a school counselor with FCPS for 19 years. She, along with her counseling team at Thurmont Middle School, created a peer ambassador program with the goal of empowering students to become leaders and make positive connections with their peers. Two of the programs that she spearheaded were “Start with Hello Week” and “Kindness Challenge Week,” in which the peer ambassadors also helped to facilitate. She uses her training in Restorative Practices and Zones of Regulation in her work with students. Krauss has been a member of her School Improvement Team and Positive Behavior Team. She has also helped lead several small groups within her school with various partnerships, including Advanced Behavioral Health, Girl Scouts, and the Frederick County Health Department.Courtesy Photo

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is accepting nominations for the Washington Post Principal of the Year award until Friday, January 10, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. The Washington Post Educational Foundation sponsors the award, created to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. The person chosen as The Washington Post’s regional Principal of the Year will receive a $7,500 monetary award, a trophy, and a half-page feature spot in The Washington Post.

The FCPS Public Affairs Department is coordinating the nomination and selection process before forwarding the FCPS finalist materials to The Washington Post. Nominees must be full-time principals, with at least five years of experience as a principal, the most recent three of which must be at FCPS. They must also serve as an administrator during the coming 2020-21 school year. Desired criteria include: skills in effective management; creativity and innovation; fostering cooperation between the school and community; maintaining a continuing dialog with students, parents, and staff; keeping abreast of developments in education; encouraging team spirit; demonstrating leadership and commitment; continuing to play a role in the classroom; and maintaining the position as principal through the 2019-20 school year.

Nominations are welcome from current and former students, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, administrators, and supervisors. The nomination package and details are online at www.fcps.org/centraloffice/wapo-principal.

Catoctin High School physical education teacher Mike Franklin was named the Frederick County Public Schools 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year during Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban’s “Prize Patrol” visit to his school. The school system’s most prestigious award recognizes outstanding representatives of the teaching profession. In addition to teaching physical education, Franklin chairs the department at his school. He also teaches Fitness for Life through the FCPS Virtual School, coaches baseball, coordinates the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge, and chairs his school’s ROAR Club. He has earned numerous awards including 2014 Maryland Outstanding PE Teacher, 2016 Hood College Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award, and was named 2017 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year.

“We had 70 outstanding Teacher of the Year nominees,” said Alban. “Mr. Franklin’s emphasis on positivity and service to others makes him an excellent representative of quality teaching in Frederick County.”

“There is no more powerful tool than praise,” Franklin says and explains that he believes in the “catch ‘em being good” philosophy of encouraging students to succeed.

“I believe in celebrating successes daily. I’ve seen the power of a compliment or even a simple phone call home to let the parents know their child is awesome.”

One challenge we face in education, he adds, is that “we must make sure that students are ready to learn. We have hungry students, homeless students, students who are battling through family issues.” Teachers can help them develop abilities to manage emotions. “I want my classroom to be a 90-minute vacation from whatever challenges the students are facing in life,” Franklin explains.

As a coach, he asks players to fist-bump a statue as they prepare for athletics practice to signify, “I’m changing attitudes.” He advises scholar-athletes that when they make an error they can take their hat off to signify they let go of their frustrations and put it back on when they “have their minds right” to move forward. Likewise, during the school day, teachers help when they meet students at the door with a positive greeting and help them to do something to identify that they have figuratively “changed hats” and are ready to learn. The most powerful tool we have is our minds, says Franklin: “A compliment can make a kid feel like a million dollars when he’s broke.” 

Principal Bernie Quesada shares this wholehearted endorsement: “Mr. Franklin has made a difference for thousands of children in Frederick County in his coaching, mentoring, teaching, and, most importantly, the example he sets for all those who are in his class or work with him. His involvement with the community and the impact he has had on our area are remarkable. Just this past holiday season, he organized a food drive and came to work early every morning to stand outside as the buses arrived and collect items for the local food pantry. That is one of hundreds of examples of selfless actions he has shared as a teacher and colleague. You will not find a more influential teacher leader in FCPS.”

FCPS will celebrate Franklin and each school-selected Teacher of the Year at a special event Friday, May 10 from 4-6 p.m. at Tuscarora High School. The Board of Education will honor Franklin at their meeting on Wednesday, September 11. He and other Maryland district Teachers of the Year will receive honors at a state-wide gala on October 25. Of the 24 local Teachers of the Year, one will be selected the Maryland Teacher of the Year and go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Franklin was grateful to receive gifts from community organizations supporting the FCPS Teacher of the Year. Signifying the year 2019, Stauffer Funeral Home donated $2,019, FERKO donated $500, Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre donated tickets valued at $100, and Fountain Rock Restaurant Group donated a $150 gift certificate.

2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Michael Franklin with (left to right) his children Haylee Bentley, Kaylee Franklin and Kathan Franklin, and his wife Kristie Franklin